It was one year ago today that Four Corners aired footage from Animals Australia's first investigation in Indonesia, and shocked the Australian public with the brutal and undeniable cruelty of the live export industry. It's amazing to think just how far we've come in 12 months. Check out what's been achieved...
Hundreds of thousands putting the heat on pollies to stop the trade through emails, letters and phone calls.
A whopping 60,000 media stories about live exports (here and overseas!) in 2011.
Not to mention four historic proposals in Parliament to end live exports.
People power has brought us this far and has made live export an issue no politician can ignore! Together, we've shone a spotlight on this cruel trade! Not only have our efforts forced animal welfare improvements across numerous countries, sheep exports have also dropped to a ten year low, meaning that hundreds of thousands of sheep have been spared from a gruelling journey and brutal slaughter. (Want to see the full checklist of what's been achieved? Click here.)
After the investigation aired, we heard from so many people who made the choice to take animals off their plates. It seems I wasn't the only one getting all choked up watching the heartbreaking story of Tommy the steer, shivering with fear as he awaited his death.
While some victories have been won, the larger campaign to end all live exports from Australia continues. And this is where you can do your part for the animals!
Share the campaign with your friends! It's so simple but so important. Facebook, Twitter, wherever - get the message out there that live exports need to be stopped.
If you're voting age: Tell the PM what you think! She's there to serve Australians, right? So tell her exactly what you want to see done.
Get published! The letters page in the paper is one of the most read sections. Your letter will speak for the millions of young Australians who want an end to live exports.
Gather signatures! Easier than you'd think. Print off a petition to end live exports. Take it to class or to a lecture; the canteen or the cafe and get other people involved.
Thanks to the amazing support of people like you, this campaign has already had a huge impact! With your continued help, the entire ugly trade can be banned for good. What's the next step you're going to take?
As Australians, we love the underdog. We cheer on the unlikely hero, hoping they'll overcome all odds, and get the happy ending they deserve. When I heard of the mass cow breakout in Broome earlier this week, there was part of me that couldn't help but cheer the heroes on.
Of course, I realise that when cows are on the loose their own welfare is at risk. But sadly, where they were headed before they escaped was likely to be much worse. And their dash for freedom was a little reminder that if animals had a choice, there would be no live exports and no slaughterhouses.
Broome is an absolutely beautiful place. Unfortunately it's also a loading port for Australian cattle being sent overseas. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that animals who are exported don't have much to look forward to. The journey is stressful enough, but even that doesn't compare to being slaughtered fully conscious in a country with no animal cruelty laws. (btw, you can help end the trade with just 30 seconds of your time).
Now, cows aren't dumb, so it's no big surprise that some of them made a daring moo-ve (awful pun, sorry) to escape. In a stirring moment, around 50 of the bovine rebels made a break for it! Some dashed inland, some headed to the coast.
This story of animals making a break for freedom is one that occurs many times throughout the year. Sometimes the lucky escapees even get to live full, contented lives on sanctuaries. This particular incident is tinged with sadness though. Of the cows that escaped, 16 headed out to sea, with only seven able to be rescued. The rest drowned.
On the flip side, around 20 of the "Friesian Fighters" (a nice pun for the cow fanciers out there) are still livin' large, roaming the scrublands around Broome! How long they'll be free for is anyone's guess, but I've got my fingers crossed that they never again see the inside of a truck, ship or slaughterhouse.
Maybe the Broome escapees had found inspiration in this song?
n.b. Of course, I'm not suggesting that cows be armed with rifles. That would be ridiculous -- like suggesting that 12 year olds be allowed to go hunting by themselves (or tbh ... at all!). That'd be nuts! Oh wait ...
Who said cows don't have an ear for fine music?! An American jazz group put this theory to the test when they recently performed in front of a crowd of captivated, music-loving French cows. Check out the video below, very cute!
I especially like how all the cows stand to attention side-by-side, their ears honed in on the music, seemingly twitching in curiosity and pleasure! Adorable! Just a sunny afternoon of grass munching and jazz - what better way to pass the time?
If only dairy cows, who sing their own songs of sorrow, when their new born calves are taken from them only hours after birth and are trucked off to be killed as 'waste products' of the dairy industry; and steers, castrated, de-horned and branded without pain relief in the beef industry could all experience a little less human cruelty and a little more human kindness and creativity.
Cows are intelligent and inquisitive creatures that form strong social bonds with their bovine buddies, and according to scientists, even enjoy solving mental puzzles! This video just goes to show these amazing animals are every bit as intriguiing and deserving of our respect as dogs, cats or any other animal...
Have you got any cute or funny cow stories/videos to share?
What would you do if you were being loaded onto a massive ship to spend weeks at sea, crammed in with thousands of others in sometimes stifling temperatures, standing in your own waste until you are finally offloaded in a country where no laws protect you from cruelty and being slaughtered fully conscious...?
I don't know about you, but if I had any inkling of what was to come I'd jump ship! And that's exactly what one cluey cow did last week, while being loaded onto a live export ship in Darwin.
Rather than accept her fate as part of the cruellest trade in Australia, this brilliant Brahman escaped the loading races and plunged into the sea in a bid for freedom. And who could blame her?
Export ships leaving Darwin port take cattle straight to Indonesia, and if you saw the Four Corners report in May you'd know why this cow would not want to end up there! Animals Australia filmed cows being kicked, whipped, eye gouged, having their tails broken, and slapping their heads on concrete that forms part of horror restraining boxes that the Australian government had installed.
Eventually the swimming cow was pulled out of the water, but still kicking and bucking, she clearly didn't want to be "saved" and put back on the ship. Her fate is now unknown.
Even more tragic is that this is not the first cow to make a break for freedom. Apparently others before her have tried to save themselves, but it looks like we'll have to do it for them. Please click here to send a letter to the Prime Minister and ask her to end this barbaric trade for good!
Were you one of the thousands who came out to voice their opposition to live exports at the Ban Live Export National Rally on Sunday? What an amazing turn out and what an amazing atmosphere!
Thank you to everyone who helped send a strong message to politicians that Australians want this cruel trade stopped. If you made it along to the rally, leave a comment below. We'd love to hear about your experience of the day!
Tonight the campaign train visits the Australian Parliament with Independents Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon and Greens' Adam Bandt introducing bills that, if passed, would finally see an end to live export.
We'll keep you posted on that news. In the meantime - Lights. Camera. Action to ban live export! We can't wait to see your video :)
It's amazing to think that since 4 Corners exposed those shocking images of Australian animals being brutalised in Indonesia, that hundreds of thousands of Australians have spoken out for the animals, and as a result the trade to Indonesia has been suspended. Who would've thought we could achieve that in just over a week!
This is a big win in the campaign to end all live animal export and just goes to show what we can achieve when we work together. But the campaign is not over yet! This suspension will do nothing to protect millions of Australian animals from having their throats slit whilst fully conscious in other countries that Australia exports animals to.
If ever we needed all hands on deck, then it's now! You might have heard... Just over a week from now (on 20th June), two bills will be submitted to Parliament, which if passed will end live animal export for good. Let me say that again... FOR GOOD!
Tbh, there has never been a better chance of stopping this trade than these bills. Which is why it's sooooo important that we keep up the pressure in this campaign and send the message loud and clear to the big wigs in govt that Aussies want an end to this cruelty.
Animals Australia has just launched a National Week of Action, to put pressure on pollies to support a ban on live export. So if you're old enough to vote, get your arse over to Animals Australia and get active ;)
And if you're not old enough to vote, then we've got another important project for you:
Send a message to Julia Gillard to tell her that you want to grow up in a country that cares about animals -- and doesn't send them to be brutalised in other countries. Click here to write a personal message to the PM on her webform.
This is fast becoming the biggest campaign for animals in Australia's history! And this is your chance to be a part of it!
This morning the campaign to Ban Live Export scored a massive win for the animals! The Gillard Government announced they have suspended the entire live trade to Indonesia.
For the moment, this means cattle like Bill, Dudley, Brian, Arthur and Tommy are safe from being shipped to brutal slaughterhouses in Indonesia, but this campaign ain't over yet!
Despite evidence of cruel treatment to Australian animals in other countries, such as throughout the Middle East, Julia Gillard's government has done nothing to prevent Australian animals from being sent to these destinations. The only solution to protect Australian animals from the cruelty of live export, is a total ban on the trade. And on 20th June, Tassie MP, Andrew Wilkie, and SA Senator, Nick Xenophon, will be submitting a bill that, if passed, will do just that -- ban live animal export!
Writer Margaret Mead once said "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Unleashed members and Animals Australia supporters have certainly proved this true in the last week!
Over 235,000 people have signed a petition to Ban Live Export, and Julia Gillard has received more than 100,000 emails in her inbox from shocked Aussies urging her to end the cruelty. People are continuing to donate to get television and radio ads to air. And the Animals Australia and Unleashed Facebook and Twitter pages have been running hot all week with posts, comments and tweets from caring people who have simply refused to let the government to turn a blind eye to animal cruelty.
Perhaps the most surprising result of the campaign so far, has been that the Meat Industry Council has reported a 10-15% DROP IN MEAT! Not only is the government rethinking it's support of this terrible industry, but the Australian public is questioning whether they can trust an industry that knew about the abuse in Indonesia more than a decade ago and yet was still willing to send animals to that terrible fate.
Thank you to everyone who has spoken out and been a part of this campaign so far!
With just over a week to go until the bill to ban live export is tabled in Parliament, it's time to ramp up the campaign! Don't let Julia Gillard and your local MP off the hook until they Ban Live Export for good!
Mark this date in your diary, because you won't want to miss this! Everyone is talking about the story that will air on Monday night (30th May) on Four Corners! The program will feature never-before seen footage from Animals Australia's recent investigation into the treatment of Aussie cattle exported live to Indonesia.
Every year, millions of animals born into Australian care are exported live, to be killed in countries where there are no laws to protect their welfare.
Over the past seven years, Animals Australia has carried out investigations into the treatment of animals exported live to the Middle East. Footage from past investigations has repeatedly shown the live export industry is happy to export animals to countries regardless of how badly they will be treated. When exposed on national TV, evidence provided by Animals Australia led to a ban on live sheep exports to Egypt, and created massive public opposition to the cruel trade.
This coming Monday night, ABC1's Four Corners will air exclusive footage of exported Australian cattle filmed by Animals Australia investigators in Indonesia.
So tune in and tell all your friends and family to watch this groundbreaking story! Four Corners airs at 8:30PM, Monday 30th May on ABC1.
We’re supposed to let you know that the ideas expressed here are the views of the individual authors, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia or Animals Australia Unleashed. So now you know.